Thursday, November 19, 2009

UFC 106 Fight Week Previews: Anthony Johnson vs. Josh Koscheck

Quickly put together in the wake of Brock Lesnar's inability to headline UFC 106, this is a welterweight matchup many fans have been looking forward to since it was announced.

Anthony "Rumble" Johnson is widely considered one of the top prospects in the sport, an entertaining young striker who many feel is destined for greatness and championship gold.

Standing across the cage will be the always eager to fight Josh Koscheck, an Ultimate Fighter 1 alum who is never afraid to speak his mind or test himself against the best available opponents.

This fight may have been a reactionary move, but it's a good one and could certainly end up proving to be the most exciting fight of the night.

Anthony "Rumble" Johnson (8-2-0) vs. Josh Koscheck (13-4-0)

Without question, Koscheck takes the opening element of analysis - training team - as he is a part of the welterweight trio that works together with Dave Camarillo and "Crazy" Bob Cook at American Kickboxing Academy, while Johnson doesn't present any real team affiliation.

Along with Jon Fitch and Mike Swick, the three all reside inside the Top 10 in the division and work well together, preparing each other for their upcoming fights along with the rest of the AKA team.

Experience and strength of schedule certainly come out as wins for Koscheck as well, as the bleach-blond battler will be making his 16th appearance inside the Octagon, twice as many as his opponent.

While Johnson has certainly delivered some memorable finishes inside the cage, Koscheck has faced the far stiffer competition, having gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Frank Trigg, Thiago Alves and Dustin Hazelett, in addition to having spent 15 minutes fending off divisional kingpin Georges St-Pierre.

Johnson's most noteworthy win to date came in his last fight against the one opponent he shares with Koscheck, Yoshiyuki "Zenko" Yoshida.

As impressive as Johnson's striking was in the brief amount of time it took to knockout Yoshida, it was also a carbon copy of Koscheck's performance against the Japanese fighter at UFC Fight for the Troops last December. Johnson may have been a little quicker to the finish line, but this isn't a race.

Where Johnson earns his one edge in this matchup is in the style department.

Both are accomplished wrestlers, and while Koscheck certainly owns an advantage if the fight goes to the ground, he's shown a penchant for punching as of late and that could spell danger against a lightning-quick powerhouse like Johnson.

A lot of attention will be paid to this bout even before the step into the ring, as Friday's weigh-in will be under the microscope when it comes to Johnson.

Last time out, a knee injury and need weight-cutting routine left him an unacceptable six pounds overweight, leading many to wonder whether his future resides in the middleweight division.

While Johnson insists that he'll come in on weight without issue this time around, many are taking a wait-and-see approach.

If you're placing bets on which bout produces the "Knockout of the Night," this is the horse you want to be backing.


  1. Quite honestly, this is the match I think we should have our eyes on to see who faces GSP. Maybe Dan Hardy should fight the winner of this match up in a main event before he steps in there with GSP, as that would be another fantastic line up.

    I think GSP is too strong for Hardy and when (Fine, if..) he loses to GSP the winner of this will be all over him for the next person in line to fight the champ.

  2. I think these two are each another win away from GSP.

    This is the first time Rumble has stepped in against a Top 10 guy and Kos is only 2-2 in his last four and got clobbered by GSP once already.

    Winner of this gets someone in the Top 5 and then that winner gets GSP.

    I do agree that Hardy is in for a long day at the office when he meets GSP... which sounds like it might be coming out here to Vancouver this summer... VERY, VERY EXCITED!


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